A Few Words About "Sorry"

When it became public knowledge that the new Federal Labor Government of Australia intended, as one of its first acts of the next parliamentary sitting, to apologise to the Stolen Generations, I was inwardly very pleased. I hadn't voted Labor at the last election - I went further left and gave Labor my second preferences in both Houses - but this was one issue that I wanted to see addressed, and my first choice party had endorsed the policy as well. I spoke to my wife soon after the announcement was made and stated that I hoped the new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, would take his time over the wording of the Apology, and that he would get someone like Don Watson to write it for him.

From what I've read Rudd has decided to write the speech himself. That's fair enough. He's entitled to do that and I'm not going to criticise him for it. What he has received criticism for is the amount of time he is taking to release the wording. And that is what I have trouble with. Not the time he is taking, but the criticism he is receiving for striving
to get the wording just right. Surely it's better that he writes a number of drafts, honing the wording until he gets the speech as he wants it. Throwing out a long, rambling, hastily drafted apology is not going to serve any purpose and will only open the whole process up to censure and abuse.

Somewhere or other I found an interesting little quote about the writing process which tends to sum up my feelings about this whole matter: "The first draft of everything is crap." Sometimes the fifth and sixth drafts are as well. You just have to keep going
until it works.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 12, 2008 12:18 PM.

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